Hawkesbury preview: Ron Quinton expects a bold performance from regally-bred debutant

Ron Quinton rode two Coolmore Classic winners, trained four and now has a filly out of Gerry Harvey’s 2011 race winner Aloha making her much anticipated debut at Hawkesbury on Wednesday.

Named De An Andretti, the Quinton/Harvey filly is by I Am Invincible which makes her a full-sister to triple Group 2 winner and three-time Group 1 placegetter Libertini.

“Gerry and his racing managing Luke (McDonald) came to the stables one day and Gerry said ‘I’ve got a filly for you’ and I said ‘OK’ and it would have been a couple of months later, this filly arrived,” Quinton explained.

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Coolmore Classic winner Aloha is the dam of Libertini and De An Andretti. Photo: Dean Lewins/AAP ImageSource:AAP

“I’ve had a few for Gerry in the past but nothing of any great note. I had a couple of colts and geldings early on that I won a couple of races with and then they went off to Hong Kong.

“Since then, I have only had fillies for Gerry. This is by far the nicest horse.”

De An Andretti could not have been any more impressive without actually winning her trial at Randwick on March 26.

Quinton’s former champion apprentice, one of six in total, Andrew Adkins gave the August 5 foal an easy time of things clocking-in a length third.

That said, 740m trials are not always as instructive or entirely trustworthy as they could be says the High Street Hall of Famer.

“They can be misleading, sometimes you don’t put that much emphasis on them, but it is still nice to see them trial well,” he said.

“She is a very nice filly and very well bred. We’re very happy with her and we will go there on Wednesday not with any overconfidence whatsoever but I am sure she will run well.

“She will have this run and then she will go out. I do think she will be a lovely three-year-old filly. She won’t be rushed at all – she is such a big girl.

“This is a nice starting off point for her. Win, lose or draw she will run a good race.”

Trainer Ron Quinton and his former champion apprentice Andrew Adkins combine with De An Andretti at Hawkesbury on Wednesday. Photo: Mark Evans/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Wednesday’s Hawkesbury debutante is named after Dee An Andretti, the late wife of US motor racing icon Mario Andretti.

De An Andretti is the fifth foal of the Encosta De Lago mare Aloha who has visited I Am Invincible for five of her nine seasons at stud so far.

De An Andretti is a member of the ‘Tennessee’ clan, tracing back to Tennessee Vain whom Quinton rode against during his halcyon 1980s era in the saddle and further on still to the 1945 Melbourne Cup winner, Rainbird.

Whether De An Andretti can emulate her dam and deliver Quinton a seventh Coolmore remains to be seen but his fifth and sixth winners, Daysee Doom and Dixie Blossoms, are never far from mind.

“Daysee has got a colt by Exceed And Excel and it’s doing really well,” he said.

“And I have seen a couple of photos of Dixie’s foal, it’s also by Exceed And Excel, and they are very happy with her too.

“They are both back in foal again. Dixie’s back in foal to Exceed and Daysee’s in foal to Deep Field.”


Marc Conners says his two Hawkesbury bound geldings go there at the top of their game which is no mean feat given the pair have a combined age of 15 years and 101 starts between them.

Ageless duo Dylan’s Romance and Nictock almost delivered Conners a clean sweep of the Wellington features on March 26 with Nictock an easy winner of the Town Plate while Dylan's Romance was pipped in the Cup.

Coincidentally, Dylan’s Romance had his first race start at Wellington on Cup Day six years ago finishing an honourable fourth in the Wellington Boot.

Had Dylan’s Romance won last month’s Cup it would have been the son of Arc winner Dylan Thomas’s eleventh career win and take his earnings ever closer to $500,000.

“He’s been a great honest horse,” Conners said. “We’ve had him since he was a foal really because we bred him with a few good stable clients.

“He has been racing well this preparation and probably without a lot of luck. I thought he was home last start but he got run down late.

Trainer Marc Conners has stable stalwarts Dylan’s Romance and Nictock racing in fine form. Photo: Simon Bullard/AAP ImageSource:AAP

“It’s no secret that he goes forward. I don’t know that he has to actually lead these days but he races up on the speed and hopefully he can run well for us.

“Sydney racing is so competitive, you need everything to go right.”

Nictock’s own win tally will go into double figures if he can out-speed his rivals in an open and competitive final race on the card.

The son of Nature Strip’s sire, Nicconi, has a formidable strike-rate of one win in every three starts with more than half of those nine victories coming at the 1100m of today’s mission.

“He lost his way for a while,’’ Conners explained. “And last preparation he hadn’t raced for a long time before I got him he just lacked a bit of match fitness.

“Every run this preparation has been really good. Credit to the horse, he is starting to stand up.”

This weekend sees the running of the Queen Of The Turf Stakes which provided Conners with his career highlight so far when Camino Rose beat father Clarry’s mare, Staging, in the 1999 version.

Originally published asHawkesbury preview: Andretti tuned to motor first-up

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